We survived the largest Overnight Camp in the Space Center's History on Friday. Our max. is 45 campers for any given camp. We had 51 show up Friday night. They just kept coming and coming and coming. In the end there were ten not on the lists sent by the schools. I had a choice to make. I could either call the parents of the ten disputed students and have them come to collect them, or I could find a way to let them stay.
I played out each phone call in my imagination. I didn't even know I knew the swear words my imagination conjured up coming from each of the ten parent's mouths. Thirty seconds into this "What If" scenario I had to shift mental gears and go to my 'happy place' to slow my racing heart and lower my blood pressure. I knew I couldn't make those calls.
I looked at my older staff. They were looking at me, wondering what my decision would be. I wanted to send ten home, but who would I order to make the calls and handle the phone rage? Who would I have do the very thing I was terrified of doing? Who was on my butt kicking list for having missed work or coming to work not properly dressed? Who deserved to spend an hour listening to language not fit to print in any dictionary, language so foul the nation's alert level would surge upon detecting the hatred spilling through the cell towers and phone circuits?
Each of them were looking at me with the same drooping, helpless eyes a dog gives its master after having wet on the carpet and not wanting a whooping with the evening's newspaper. In the end I abandoned the idea. I realized if I had one of them make those fateful calls I would be hauled before a United Nations Tribunal in the Netherlands for Crimes Against Humanity.
"OK, we won't send them home," I announced.
"What are we going to do with ten extra kids?" Mr. Daymont asked. I wanted to say "Give them to you" but knew the shock would cause an instantaneous loss of blood to his brain causing a physical collapse in front of 51 campers.
I thought back to the last time we had large numbers, remembered what I did and made the pronouncement. "We take 31 of them and split them into two teams. One team does a Voyager 2.5 hour mission while the other does the same in the Magellan. They switch ships at 10:20 P.M. The Voyager can do a school field trip mission. They're designed for larger groups on the Bridge."
The staff liked the idea, what choice did they have?
The campers were delightful. They were excited to be at camp and had no problems doing whatever we asked. We all got through the camp unscathed thanks to an awesome staff and brilliant campers.
What can be said of my performance? I went and hid behind my desk for most of the night after dividing the kids into their ships. There are times in a teacher's career when hiding behind our desks is warranted. I just crawled into that little space reserved for my feet and stayed there until the world seemed normal again. If the staff asks, I tell them I dropped a thumb tack. Everyone knows you can't leave a lost thumb tack laying around, especially with a staff that likes to wonder shoeless at bedtime during an overnight camp.
It's Sunday now and all seems well. This is behind us, we learned from it, and will be all the more ready if it ever happens again.
I was looking through my old photo albums and found a few gems from an Honor's Night held in 2002 I'd like to share with you.
Honor's Night 2002
Rio Downs is being presented a retirement gift. Rio left the Space Center to work as an administrator at the Wendover airport. I suppose her new work turn out to be similar to what she did a the Space Center. Here, she worked on starships packed with eager and excited children ready to win their missions and save the universe for freedom and democracy. In Wendover, she'd be working with airplanes full of eager and excited seniors coming to work the slots to purchase freedom from their woefully inadequate social security.
Lorraine Houston is giving Josh Babb his multiple ship pin. Josh ran the Magellan and the now retired Falcon.
Yes, this is Brady Young, eight years younger receiving his seniority pin. Brady was a Voyager and Magellan Supervisor. Brady is still with us at the Space Center as he works through college. We have to share him with Best Buy. There is no doubt which job he prefers.
Scott Slaugh is on the receiving end of another seniority pin. Now how's this for a hiccup in the fabric of space time? Today Scott is married to the daughter of Dr. Carter, Central's principal and my boss.
Tanner Edwards receiving his pin. Tanner was with us for years and did an excellent job. The Honor's Night was held in the school's cafeteria. The lion painted on the wall is long gone.
Ryan Parsons isn't suffering from hypothermia. The blanket is his reward for volunteering for a whole bunch of hours (I can't remember the exact number which is why I said 'whole bunch'). The blankets were hand sewn by Mrs. Houston.
Look at these young faces. Casey Voeks starts us off on the left, followed by Katie, Megan Warner and Sam Brady. Alex DeBirk is standing in the background. The pillowcases were hand sewn by Mrs. Houston. You earned them for volunteering almost a whole bunch of hours.
Look at our happy volunteers, each holding his or her Year of Service pins. You recognise some of these faces from the previous picture. There are few other faces in this picture you may recognize. BJ Warner is on the far left. Mrs. Clegg is behind him. And who is that next to BJ? Why its a very young Emily Perry (now Paxman).
I'm reading a proclamation of some kind. I'm thinking this is the gathering where I declared myself "God of Flight Directing". By the way, the simulator Falcon was kept in the white boxes you see in the background. We set the ship up every Friday night for the Overnight Camps and took it down every Saturday morning at the camp's completion. One of the Starlab domes covered the boxes and equipment. Some of you old timers may remember the Falcon. It was run by Josh Babb, Stacy Carrol, Bill Schuler and Lorraine Houston.
This picture shows our newest Supervisors. Megan Warner, Jameson McDougal, Wesley Moss, Casey Voeks, Sam Brady, and Rick Cowdell. What an awesome group. Megan is currently on a mission in South Korea. Jameson recently married. Wesley recently returned from a mission to South Dakota, Casey is still with us in addition to working for Olive Garden, Motel 6 and has his own radio show on KTKK. Sam is at BYU. We've lost track of Rick. Anyone have an update?
Two real old timers. Dave Wall, creator and builder of the Odyssey, is shaking hands with James Porter. Today, James is a teacher at the Thomas Edison Charter School in Logan. James is working to create a Space Center at his school. He is married with a baby boy.
Randy Jepperson receiving his seniority pin. Randy recently married and comes to the Space Center from time to time on a Saturday to take the younger staff on in dodgeball.
Thomas Hardin is on the left. Clint Cowdell is in the center very pleased with himself for earning his Black Shirt. Clint became a new volunteer that night. I can't remember the name of the other boy in the photo.
Thomas, Clint and Emily either holding or wearing their black shirts. I believe new volunteers started wearing red shirts (like Thomas) back then. You received your black shirt after volunteering for so long and getting a pass of or two.
Well Troops, let's have another great week at the Space Center.
I look forward working with you in the trenches.